Let's face it, British summer weather can be quite unpredictable. Even during a heatwave, a swimming pool can be pretty chilly for your child.
Up to the age of 2, children aren’t able to regulate their temperature and it’s easy for them to get cold while swimming. That’s where a baby or toddler wetsuit comes in – it’ll keep your baby insulated and happy while they’re splashing about in the shallows. As they get older, a kids wetsuit will allow your older children to spend more time in the water and try out water sports and activities with some extra protection from the elements.
For beachside fun, we've also rounded up some of the best beach toys for kids to keep them busy and, in case you're planning a seaside staycation, we've got the best family tents and a family camping checklist ready for you too.
Best baby, toddler and kids wetsuits at a glance
- Best for strong fastenings: Swim Cosy Baby Wrap, £14.95
- Best for full coverage: Splash About Kids Warm in One Thermal Wetsuit, from £24.99
- Best newborn wetsuit for warmth: Two Bare Feet Ultimate Newborn Wetsuit, £12.99
- Best for a built in nappy: Close Pop-in Unisex Newborn Baby Cosy Suit, £16.72
- Best for first swimming lessons: SwimBest Baby Wetsuit, £9.99
- Best for colourful prints: Close Toddler Snug Suit - Down By The Sea, £13.61
- Best toddler wetsuit for warmth: JoJo Maman - Kids' Colour Block Wetsuit, £28
- Best for an easy fit: Splash About UV Sun & Sea Suit, £25
- Best short wetsuit for younger kids: O'Neill Reactor 2mm Spring Wetsuit, £31.95
- Best long wetsuit for older kids: Roxy Syncro GBS Back Zip Wetsuit, £125
- Best short wetsuit for older kids: Waves Kids Printed Shorty Wetsuit, £25
What to consider when choosing a baby and toddler wetsuit
Fabric – Most wetsuits are made from neoprene, a quick-drying, insulating fabric that’s available in different thicknesses – the thicker it is, the warmer it is, but that can also mean less flexibility. For long days spent on windy beaches and in colder pools, you can also get wetsuits with an added fleece-lining for an extra layer of warmth.
Sun protection – For outdoor adventures, UPF protection is a fantastic addition to many on the market, which will give you peace of mind your child is safe in the sun.
Fastenings – Squeezing a wriggly little person into a tight wetsuit isn’t fun for anyone, so it’s important to think about how easy a wetsuit is to get on and off – look for wide openings and long zips at the front or back.
Age suitability – Body wraps are perfect for smaller babies as they lie out completely flat and simply wrap around the body, but you’ll need a swimsuit and swim nappy underneath before your baby is ready to go. Older kids will probably prefer something with more flexibility.
Potty protection – While most wetsuits require babies and toddlers who're not yet potty trained to wear a swim nappy (like this Splash About Happy Nappy) some innovative designs have an integrated nappy inside – a clever option that will save money in the long run.
The best wetsuits for babies
1. Swim Cosy Baby Wrap, £14.95
- Best for strong fastenings
Age range: Baby | Material: spandex/neoprene | UPF rating: 50+ | Machine washable: N/A
If you’ve booked the swimming lessons for your little one and now have no idea what you need, look no further than the Swim Cosy Baby Wrap. It opens up flat, so you don’t have to put it over your baby’s head and its snug fit will make them feel cosy, comforted and warm.
The SwimBest Baby Wetsuit on our list is £5 cheaper, but the Swim Cosy has a few features that give it a premium feel – anti-snag Velcro for soft, quiet dressing, it’s also made of 3mm neoprene (Swim Cosy’s is a slightly less insulating 2mm) and it’s available in 4 contemporary prints.
It also goes up to age 3, a whole year more than Swim Cosy, although arguably you may have moved onto a more grown-up design by then.
Parents who bought this in the past praised the strong velcro fastenings as well as the fabric it's made from. One parent of a little boy said, "it’s a soft and flexible material, with soft velcro that doesn’t destroy my clothes as I change or carry him about."
Available from: Amazon
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2. Splash About Kids Warm in One Thermal Wetsuit, from £24.99
- Best for full coverage
Size: 0-3 months to 12-24 months | Material: neoprene | UPF rating: 50+ | Machine washable: No, hand wash in cold water
One of the trickiest things about taking a young baby swimming is keeping them warm in the water. This thermal baby wetsuit could be the answer as it has a fleece lining to keep your little one from feeling chilly as they splash about.
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Parent tester Jessica commented, "it's brilliant, keeps them warm, inbuilt swim nappy. Fantastic!"Available in a range of cute designs and colours, the Warm in One is great for babies with sensitive skin and will keep any barrier creams in place.
You can team it up with a matching Happy Nappy or use another swim nappy of your choice. The full body wetsuit also offers UPF 50+ protection from the sun. Splash About claims its swimwear is swim school approved and the materials they use are both chlorine resistant and quick-drying.
3. Two Bare Feet Ultimate Newborn Wetsuit, £12.99
- Best newborn wetsuit for warmth
Size: 0-3 months | Material: neoprene | UPF rating: N/A | Machine washable: Yes
Chilly babies are never happy babies and this Two Bare Feet Ultimate Newborn Wetsuit will keep your little one toasty and smiling during a trip to the beach or pool.
Most similar in look to the Splash About Happy Nappy Wetsuit and the Close Pop-in Baby Cosy Suit, it’s certainly a winner in the value-for-money stakes. But, it doesn’t have the UV protection or built-in swim nappy of the former products.
It’s a solid option though that’s earned its place on our list with its 2mm thick neoprene material, stretchy arm and leg openings and central zip that make getting children in and out of it a breeze.
Parents who bought this wetsuit in the past were pleased with their purchase and praised the manoeuvrability of this suit's design. One mum said it gave her son the space to "move his legs freely" while swimming and another said it was "the best thing to keep my little girl warm while in her swimming lessons."
Available from: Amazon
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4. Close Pop-in Unisex Newborn Baby Cosy Suit, £16.72
- Best for a built in nappy
Size: 0-6 months | Material: 100% polyester | UPF rating: 50+ | Machine washable: No, hand wash only
If you're looking for a great value wetsuit with a built in nappy then you can't go wrong with this adorable cosy suit from Close. It comes with a soft fleece layer to keep your baby warm while splashing around.
It's also really easy to put on thanks to the full front opening and has a snug seal around the legs to prevent any accidents from leaking - though it is still designed to be used over a swim nappy liner nappy.
It is worth noting that the two prints on offer, while cute, aren't the brightest colours. That being said, the collection is made from recycled plastic bottles making it a fantastic environmentally friendly option too.
5. SwimBest Baby Wetsuit, £9.99
- Best for first swimming lessons
Size: 0-24 months | Material: neoprene | UPF rating: 50+ | Machine washable: No, hand wash only
The second baby wrap on our round-up, the SwimBest Baby Wetsuit is one of the best value we found and it’s cute look and snug fit make it a top buy.
The perfect companion for your baby’s first swimming lessons, it opens up completely flat so it’s easy to fit around a baby who’s always on the move. It can be worn on top of a swimsuit and your little one will still need a swim nappy, unlike a product with a built-in nappy, like Splash About’s Happy Nappy Wetsuit, £24.99.
It’s cheaper than the Swim Cosy Baby Wrap, but it’s almost identical in look – the main difference is it fastens at the side rather than the front and it’s made from 2mm thick neoprene, while Swim Cosy’s is 3mm, making it slightly warmer.
This baby wetsuit is recommended by Amazon and seemed to go down well with previous buyers. Although some did mention that the sizing could be on the smaller size, it was described as a "well made swimsuit" which was "value for money."
Available from: Amazon
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The best wetsuits for toddlers
6. Close Toddler Snug Suit - Down By The Sea, £13.61
- Best for colourful prints
Size: 1-6 years | Material: 100% polyester | UPF rating: 50+ | Machine washable: Rinse immediately and wash with similar colours
Just like the equally adorable Pop-in Cosy Suit for babies, this toddler size comes with a fleece layer to keep your child warm as they swim. The poppered gusset makes taking your toddler to the toilet or changing them after a swim really easy, a plus if it's one of the colder British summer days.
The colourful ocean prints might are made even more cute by the red and white stripes on the underarms and sides matching the beach vibe perfectly. It's also made from recycled plastic bottles to help keep the oceans safe and clean to swim in for years to come.
Available from: Close
7. JoJo Maman Bebe Kids' Colour Block Wetsuit, £28
- Best toddler wetsuit for warmth
Size: 1-6 years | Material: 100% polyester | UPF rating: N/A | Machine washable: No, hand wash only
This wetsuit from Jojo Maman Bebe has that traditional surfer look designed for added warmth when swimming. It comes in both blue and pink, though the blue isn't the most vibrant colour to help you spot your child on the beach or in the water.
The front zipper makes getting your toddler ready for their swim a lot easier and the short sleeves mean that they aren't restricted when they're splashing around in the pool or sea. Size wise, this wetsuit runs all the way from 1 to 6 so it should be easy to find the right fit for your child.
Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe
8. Splash About UV Sun & Sea Suit, £25
- Best for an easy fit
Size: 1-2 years to 4-6 years | Material: Neoprene | UPF Rating: 50+ | Machine washable: Hand wash only
This sea suit was a hit among our parent testers, praising its clever design and comfort. This supple suit is made from neoprene in the body to help maintain core temperature and nylon in the arms and side panels “for easy fit, comfort of movement and longevity” – one tester felt it would fit for two summers, making it great value.
Our testers similarly praised the high quality of the suit, particularly the “thick lip along the zip to stop the fabric catching” and noted the zip (which is at the back) makes the suit easy to take on and off, even for a toddler.
The UPF 50+ sun protection “takes the worry out of being in the sun” together with the “eye-catching colours and prints stand out in a busy pool or beach.” Parent tester Eleanor said: “The neoprene material feels soft, washes nicely and ensures a good fit for my active toddler, while the three-quarter sleeves and legs help keep your child warm and protected from UV rays.”
9. O'Neill Reactor 2mm Spring Wetsuit, £31.95
- Best short wetsuit for younger children
Size: 1-6 years | Material: 100% neoprene | UPF rating: 50+ | Machine washable: No, hand wash with cold water only
If you’re after a toddler wetsuit with serious technical ability, you can’t go far wrong with this O'Neill Reactor 2mm Spring Wetsuit for ages 1 and above.
With a back zip pull-cord, superseal neck to stop water getting in and a next-level range of movement, stretch and softness, this children’s wetsuit has an adult level of expert features.
It’s slightly thicker and warmer than the Quicksilver 1.5mm Syncro Sprinsuit, which means it’ll keep little ones happy and shiver-free on a windy beach for hours. Plus, it’s a great price for a premium-grade product.
The best wetsuits for kids
10. Roxy Syncro GBS Back Zip Wetsuit, £125
- Best long wetsuit for older kids
Size: 8-16 years | Material: 83% Nylon, 17% Elastane | UPF rating: N/A | Machine washable: No, hand wash with cold water only
This kids’ wetsuit is available for children aged from 8 years old to 16. The long sleeved and full leg design offer more coverage and warmth in the sea on British beaches. It’s made from 100% neoprene and in a “StretchFlight” version of the material, which the brand promise should make it warm while being light and flexible.
The suit has infared thermal lining on the chest and back which can transform body heat into added warmth and the panels should also help capture and retain heat from the sun.
This wetsuit would be ideal for sporty kids who are having a crack at water activities on their holidays or at weekends. Made by popular surf brand Roxy, it should be a quality wetsuit for kids to enjoy on the beach. The unique “sunset glow” design makes it a fun and stylish choice, too.
Available from: Roxy
11. Waves Kids Printed Shorty Wetsuit, £25
- Best short wetsuit for older kids
Size: 5-13 years | Material: N/A | UPF rating: N/A | Machine washable: Unknown
This durable short wetsuit is perfect for keeping your children's core warm in the water without sacrificing their ability to move freely. The flexible stitching between panels makes sure that they can swim and splash around without the wetsuit restricting their movement.
MadeForMums Head of Consumer Content Christy, who tested the wetsuit with her 10 year-old, said, "My 10 year old enjoyed testing this wetsuit. It was easy to get on by herself thanks to the long pull tab on the zip, and kept her warm in the UK sea. The stretchy fabric was really thick but soft to the touch and very flexible.”
It also has a back zip to make it easier to put on and take off. It is suitable for leisure swimming, bodyboarding and surfing but not long distance swimming and Animal recommend wearing a rash vest underneath to prevent chafing.
Available from: Animal
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